The first two periods of this game weren't exactly stellar for the Lightning. Frankly, they looked a lot like last season's team, and not in a good way. They play great at home, but then don't do well on the road.
Part of the problem was the lack of shots. The Lightning finished the game with 19 shots on goal. Granted, most teams that play the Devils don't end the game with as many shots as they usually do, but the Lightning had only four shots in the second period. There was a stretch of over 16 minutes between the middle of the first to the middle of the second where they didn't have any shots at all.
Another issue was that Tampa Bay didn't play their game the first two periods. They were playing the Devils' game, which obviously didn't work for them at all. In the third, when they started playing their system, things started looking up for them - they were playing more like the team we say at the Tampa Bay Times Forum last week.
In the end, though, it was too little, too late. Late penalties to Martin St. Louis and Adam Hall while the game was still within reach at 2-1 New Jersey did them in, giving the Devil's a 1:41 5-on-3 power play. It didn't help that head coach Guy Boucher contributed to that. Due to a questionable call on Hall, Boucher got into a rather heated discussion with the referee and was given an "Abuse of Officials" penalty.
You know it's not a great night when your coach gets the team into penalty trouble.
The next game is Saturday, 9 February, at the Boston Bruins. Game time is 1 pm Eastern. Due to the impending bad weather coming into the New England area, there's a chance that this game may have to be rescheduled. If the game is played, we will have a game thread available at 12:30 pm - come join us!